Yesterday, we decided to visit the Word on the Street festival. My parents have gone for years and have always raved about how fun and interesting it is, but (even when working in publishing) I never had an opportunity to go. The Word on the Street is a street festival that allows authors, publishers, small book stores, newspapers and magazines from all over Canada to come and showcase their goods.
There was a really eclectic group of people and despite on-and-off rain for most of the day, people were in good spirits. We arrived at 2 PM, (the festival ran from 11 AM to 6 PM) on Bloor Street, right by the Royal Ontario Museum just in time to see the hosts of the TVO Kids shows. My kids are huge fans. Right before they went on, it poured rain, which helped keep the crowds at bay. Had it been a beautiful, warm sunny day, the crowds would have been insane. Instead, people were patient despite being wet, and excited to see their favourite hosts. The hosts, Kara, Drew and Dalmar sang lots of songs about the importance of reading and where you can find books, and made their performance really relevant to the festival. They even started a new reading club that kids can join and post what they’re reading, their reviews, etc. We have read to our children every day since they were born and we notice how much it has helped with their own love of reading. This festival suited us perfectly. If you’re not into reading, this festival can be skipped.
The festival runs in other cities in Canada, including Vancouver, Lethbridge, Saskatoon, Kitchener, and Halifax. Most of the cities ran on the same day as the Toronto festival, however Vancouver’s Word on the Street is happening this coming weekend.
There were lots of free giveaways, and the festival is a free event to attend. Most publishers and bookstores were offering their books at 20-25% off and some even had tables where all books were under $5, for example. Good deals were everywhere. And, there was a nice selection of different food trucks (we had a blooming onion because we are an onion-loving family) so you could take your time, have some treats, meet a few authors, listen to a reading or two and pick up some good books.
I would recommend the festival to anyone who likes to read, or who has kids who like to read, or even those who have kids who don’t like to read. This could be something fun and exciting to help encourage them into reading!
TVO Kids Performance at Word on the Street